Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Southern Trip, Part 2

We have been busy with taking the farm down for the winter and I have not gotten back to the blog. That is what happens around here!

I can't go on with out talking about the meal we had at Cochon. For the vegetarians in the group, you might want to skip ahead to the next paragraph because Cochon is all about the pig...and maybe some oysters! To start, throwing caution to the wind, and trying with all of my might to block out my doctor's voice telling me to cut back on saturated fats, we started with fried pork skins dipped in Cane Syrup. I will let that sink in a moment...Ready? It is a very long strip of salty, crispy, crunchy goodness that is dipped in sweeter than molasses cane syrup. This had to have been an accidental pairing because the mind can't go there. It works. For the next taste treat we ordered the barbecued oysters. Sublime. They were perfectly cooked, aka, not rubbery and had a light and bright butter sauce. Is that a contradiction in terms? Hmmmm...We also ordered the charcuterie board, complete with homemade bologna and slim jims as well as house pickled onions and okra. YUM. Now for the entrees...the house specialty of "Cochon", perfectly cooked pork with turnips, cabbage and cracklins, with little nuggets of apple for sweetness. Farmer Jeff ordered his new favorite dish in the world, an oyster and bacon po'boy. We were dumb enough to order dessert, which, after all of the other food, I simply can't remember. Suffice to say, should you ever go to New Orleans, you MUST go to Cochon.

We rolled out of NOLA (New Orleans, Lousiana) mid-morning and crossed into Mississippi. I have to admit that I am head over heals in love with Mississippi. I can't fully explain it but can give some examples. Actually, the rest of my blog may give some of those examples.

We got out at the state line to "use the facilities" and to check out the visitor information center. Once inside the woman at the info desk asked if I would like a "Co-Cola". I quickly scanned what she was pointing at and saw that there was an actual soda fountain machine on the back wall and they were handing out FREE Coke!!! YES, M'am, I would surely love a Coca-Cola. That was a real treat!

We made a bee-line to have lunch in Jackson, MS, at Walker's Drive-in, a 50's looking place with supposedly regional food. We slipped in the door with 10 minutes to spare and quickly ordered what tickled our fancy first. I ordered the fried green tomato salad smothered with sauteed crawfish and Farmer Jeff ordered his new second favorite sandwich, a fried green tomato BLT. Have you noticed a them developing here? (Mine is pictured at the top of the page.)The meal was everything we had hoped for and really hit the spot.

We drove another couple hours to our next destination of Clarksdale, MS. Why Clarksdale? It is considered to be the home of the Delta Blues, and is the hometown of Mr. Charlie Musselwhite, a local of our area. He, along with Morgan Freeman, have bought property there. Mr. Freeman owns two restaurants, Ground Zero Blues Club, and
Madidi Restaurant, both in Clarksdale.

Farmer Jeff did some research on places to stay in Clarksdale (not many) and found The Shack Up Inn. It is located on the old Hopson Cotton Plantation, the same plantation where Pinetop Perkins, famed blues piano player, lived and worked. We stayed in the Pinetop Perkins shack, complete with a piano. I will post some pictures because words can not describe the place. Just one more note...this is where Robert Plant and Elvis Costello stay when they pass through town, which is surprisingly often. The shacks have electricity and indoor plumbing as well as kitchenettes complete with humming "period" refrigerators and microwaves, "non-period".

We were so enchanted with the place, actually, bewitched is a better word, that we made reservations to stay there on the way home from Oxford, MS. The next morning we headed off to the Delta Blues Museum and then to lunch at Ground Zero Blues Club. While standing in the parking lot of Ground Zero we could see the buildings that Charlie Musselwhite has purchased.

I will end this travel blog with a picture of the famous "Crossroads" where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in order to play the blues guitar. God rest your soul, Robert Johnson.

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